And so here we are. Only Martin Jol stands between us and a Moneybags League spot. Given pasta events, oh the irony and what are the chances? If we beat Fulham, the worst we can finish is fourth. I suspect there’s no point in worrying about what goes down elsewhere, the Hawthorns in particular, we blew our chances of third long ago. Bayern Munich may also have a say in our destiny of course, but given that the top four was our goal at the start of the season it would seem churlish, should we achieve it and Chelsea triumph in Munich, to appoint blame for our non-qualification any closer than the penalty taking left boot of Lionel Messi.
Harry has endured much criticism of his tactical nous in the last few months, how he deals with the absence of a recognised left back on Sunday might well be seen as something of an acid test no matter how things turn out. What are the options? Three (Kaboul, Gallas and Nelsen) at the back? Bale or Gallas at left back? Or how about Townsend? He must be available now that Birmingham are out of the Championship play-offs. It’s a tough call. Moving Bale back to his original position, and the one that Barcelona apparently see him playing in if you believe what you hear, is the only one of those alternatives that satisfies the first half of ‘tried and tested’, a judgment on the second part remains to be made.
I suspect Harry will be very tempted by the idea of Nelsen and Gallas playing, two leaders with plenty of experience. Moving the Frenchman over to the left is probably favourite but if that’s what happens then Bale must be told to stick to his flank more than he normally does, as Gallas will need the protection.
Elsewhere, the midfield and forwards are likely to be the same as at Villa Park though it wouldn’t be a surprise to see Sandro replaced by Parker despite the former’s late season surge.
Fulham bring to White Hart Lane a team in form who have already clocked up their best ever Premier League points haul. In Dempsey, Frei and Dembele they have flair and in Murphy, Riise, Diarra and Duff, plenty of know-how. And at the top, in Martin Jol of course they have a man who knows what it’s like to be in Harry’s shoes. The irony of the situation is extraordinary and inescapable.
Jol won’t be the only big man present at WHL, Phil Dowd has been appointed to officiate.
We should expect nothing other than Fulham to be at their best and to try their hardest, anything else is a dereliction of duty. We’ve handicaps to overcome, injuries, suspension and fatigue for a start, but this is it, our 53rd and final game of the season and those factors need to be discounted before they become easy excuses. We came into the season with nothing. Some like Chris Foy and Martin Atkinson have given us nothing. Others, now’s not the time to mention names, have contributed nothing, but there are those who’ve been heroes all season and if we’re not to leave with nothing then the big names in our side need to come to the fore and be counted upon to do what’s required on Sunday afternoon. It’s Spurs so there’s as likely to be agony before there’s any ecstasy.
As many early goals as you like please chaps. COYS.
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